Stop Smoking Lesson Manual used by LDS Missionaries

A missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Ireland Dublin Mission developed this lesson manual in 1983 at the encouragement of his mission president, Vernon J. Tipton. 

"Many, many people in Ireland were smokers, and so I went to Heavenly Father in prayer to find a way to help them. My companion and I went to bookstores, the library, and various health organizations to obtain as much information as we could. We also used materials from the Church written by President Spencer W. Kimball called 'I Need a Friend.' We then began to study, fast and pray for an answer on what to do to help people quit smoking.  After three days of fasting and prayer I sat at a typewriter and wrote the 15 steps that are still in the manual today. Everyone we taught was able to quit. Soon I was traveling all over the mission teaching people to quit smoking. My mission president asked me to write the lesson manual to be left behind when I went home so that all missionaries could teach the lessons. Since then it has been used in many missions around the world with great success," explained the missionary.

That missionary did not have any professional training to help him create the lesson. It came about as an answer to sincere study, fasting and prayer. 

The missionary explained: "I know that God is real. He hears and answers prayer. He has answered mine time and time again. He helps us achieve righteous goals. If we will do all we can, He will help us with the rest. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and when we help people to repent by removing tobacco from their lives we open the way for them to hear the Spirit witness to them about the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel."

.... Frequently Asked Questions ...

Q: Is there a fee for the manual or for anything else associated with this?

A: There has never been a fee for the manual or for training or for anything associated with this. It has always been FREE.

Q: Does this work for all forms of tobacco?

A: Yes it does. Don't change anything. Teach the same lesson for all forms of tobacco.

Q: Does it matter how long they have been smoking, or how many per day they smoke?

A: It works whether they have smoked for decades or for just a few months. It works whether they smoke a lot or a little

Q: Does it make a difference whether we use a friendshipper/coach/buddy for the seven days?

A: It is essential to use a friendshipper or coach as described in the manual. It makes a gigantic difference in the success rate.

Q: What if they have a medication or allergy that will not allow them to drink the grapefruit juice?

A: Then DO NOT DRINK IT! Is there a substitute? No. Just go quickly to the next step (brush teeth).

Q: Is it helpful to offer the lesson to groups who gather together for one big group lesson?

A: A group lesson is difficult, but can work, if and only if you provide a friendshipper for each person taking the lesson.

Q: I am a professional. I would like to teach this to my clients. May I?

A: Maybe. The lesson must be given without cost. That means it cannot be given when you have a counseling session that they pay for.

Q: Can I use this to help people after I go home from my mission?

A: Yes, but the best way to use it will be for you to have the local missionaries teach, and you become the friendshipper.

Q: I have a friend who wants to quit but does not want to be taught by missionaries. What should I do?

A: Tell your friend that the missionaries will not teach him or her about the church unless they ask to be taught.

.... Important Info ...

VITAL: Don't try to teach without guidance. Be sure to read INSTRUCTIONS below. 

Join our community of instructors on Facebook. Ask questions, share, learn from each other. Search FB for 15-Step Stop Smoking Plan. Here is the link to the page:

Church leaders, be sure to read the information below that is provided to help your decision-making.

If your language is not listed, use English and translate as you teach. If you are a native speaker of a language we do not list, contact us for instructions on how you can volunteer to translate.

.... Info for Church Leaders ...

This lesson manual is a resource which has been used by hundreds of missions, wards, and branches to help people since 1983.

Mission leaders and unit leaders often ask if this is manual is authorized for their use. It is not an official publication of the Church. 

The lesson manual has also been used by members of the Quorum of the Twelve to help their own friends and family members.

The missionary who brought this about has traveled at his own expense to over 60 missions to provide training for missionaries and firesides for members.

Training has been at zone conferences, and some have been done with general authorities present. 

All of this means that the manual has been used world-wide since 1983 and there has been no objection to it's use from the Church.

Please see D&C 58: 26-29.

.... Download ...

HOW TO OBTAIN THE MANUAL YOU NEED>>>> Missionaries, please read this carefully. If you are not permitted to download please consider the following so you can obtain the manual. 1) Many missions download the manual(s) at the mission office and keep them on file so they can send them to missionaries in an email as needed. 2) Another method many missionaries use is to have a ward/branch mission leader or other ward/branch leader download and email the manual to them. 3) The most common method used by missionaries is to go to the ward/branch building and use the office computer to print a copy of the manual in the office and then use the hardcopy manual for teaching. This method means there is no download on your phone or other device, which is your safest method to use. 

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.... Vital Instructions ...

Smokers Cannot Just Read this Manual and Quit

This book is an instruction manual for those who teach the lesson (i.e., missionaries). Do not just give the manual to a smoker and expect them to quit. It WILL NOT WORK if a smoker just reads it on their own. If you are a smoker who found your way to this website, you need to be taught, and you need a coach who will help you every day. Tobacco is one of the most addicting substances there is. It is not easy to quit. You cannot do it on your own. You will need to be taught and you will need to follow all the steps faithfully every day for seven full days in order to succeed. Missionaries, your job is to teach people to quit. Don't just hand them the 15 steps and expect them to succeed. 

To Find a Missionary Who will Teach You...

You can find missionaries who will teach you to quit smoking by going to the website

What are Golden Contacts?

What if you could find people who have begun the repentance process and have no Word of Wisdom issues? What if those people pray several times every day? What if those people feel the Spirit and respond to promptings? Would that be a good description of a golden contact?

The smoker will have all these characteristics after completing all 15 steps for the full seven days. If they do not have these characteristics, that will be an indication to you that they did not follow all the steps each and every day. This is why a friendshipper/coach is so essential to success. The friendshipper/coach helps them to stay committed to following all the steps every day. At the end of the seven days (not before) the person you are teaching will be ready for you to offer to teach them about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

How it Works

The 15-step lesson has been successful since it began. The reason it works is because the 15 steps combine together to cause the longing for tobacco to stop, which makes it much easier for a smoker to quit.  Leaving any of the steps out is likely to cause failure. 

The Friendshipper is Essential

Success is very much dependent on the friendshipper/coach. It is not as effective when a family member or close friend of the smoker acts as the friendshipper. The best situation is to have a local member take on that role. If missionaries are the teacher and friendshipper that is also not as good. 

The smoker not only sees the friendshipper/coach as a person who guides them through the 15 steps and keeps them on track each day, but also sees them as an example of someone who is a member of the Church and who genuinely cares about them and provides a loving service to them. The smoker does not want to disappoint them, so there is an accountability factor. 

If the smoker has a family, then invite the whole family to participate. Try to select a friendshipper who also has a family, and try to have both families attend the lesson. It is important to prayerfully select a friendshipper who will commit to visiting with the smoker in person or by phone/text or other means at least once each day for seven days. In person is always best.

You will find people to teach through the friends and family of local members, and through the friends and family of the smoker. Missionaries should meet with the various organizations in the local ward/branch (including the youth meetings). One missionary will have 3x5 cards or slips of paper with some pencils while the companion stands in front of the group and explains.

"Who has a friend or family member who smokes?" Raise your hand to show that they should raise their hand. "Who would like that person to quit smoking?" Again, raise your hand. The companion with the 3x5 cards should begin handing them out to the people with their hand up. Instruct them to write their name and phone number on the top of the card, then under that list the first name of the people they would like to have quit smoking. Collect the cards. Explain that you and your companion will contact them in the next few days to schedule a time to meet with them and arrange to teach the person they listed on the card to quit smoking.

If you do this in every meeting of your local wards and branches you will have plenty of people to teach. 

Avoid this Mistake

Many missionaries have tried to offer group lessons. Those efforts require a lot of work, and the results are usually not good. People respond best if they are taught individually, and if they have a friendshipper/coach who has genuine love for them. This does not happen in a group setting. Individual attention, one on one, is what has worked best. 

What can You Expect?

The number of baptisms in the Ireland Dublin Mission DOUBLED in the year this was implemented. The next year there was an additional 25 percent growth. A survey showed that 85 percent of those who were taught actually quit smoking, and one third of those were baptized. The 15 percent who did not quit admitted that they did not follow all the steps, or that they did not follow them for seven days, or they did not have a friendshipper/coach.

Member participation was high. Members discovered they could become involved in missionary work in a non-threatening way that was easy and rewarding.  Members were helping people to repent and feel the Spirit, and the members were also having a spiritual experience. This caused them to be willing to friendship again and again.

How to Teach the Lesson

Be sure to have the Spirit as you study, prepare each lesson, and as you teach. The manual provides the lesson in an easy to follow guide. It tells you exactly what to say.   Missionaries should practice giving the lesson in companion study in advance. Be sure to become very familiar with the lesson ahead of time. This will enable you to teach with confidence. When you teach, hold the manual in front of you and teach from the words as they are printed. Be sure to ask for a commitment to follow each of the steps exactly as shown in the manual.  Teach exactly as shown in the manual. Teach by the Spirit with confidence, and that way you will inspire confidence from the smoker.

Prayer and the Spirit

It is likely that the smoker has had very little experience with vocal prayer from their heart. Using their own words will be a great experience for them and they will most certainly feel the Spirit and Love from Heavenly Father as they pray. Be sure to help them recognize the Spirit.

Word of Wisdom

The lesson teaches them to stop drinking coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages. At the end of the seven days encourage them to continue to abstain because those things will trigger the desire for a cigarette and could cause them to smoke again. Ask them to tell you how they feel. Usually they will talk about how good they are feeling about their health, clarity of thought, and more. Let them know that Heavenly Father is pleased with their efforts to change and be better, and that He will strengthen them in their ability to resist temptation. 

How to Invite a Smoker

The worst time to talk to a smoker about quitting cigarettes is when they are actually smoking. Be sure to approach them when they are not smoking. Say something like: "I've heard that the reason it is hard to quit smoking is because there is a longing for a cigarette that causes a strong desire to smoke. Is that how it is with you?" 

The smoker will say that is true. Next ask them:  "If there were a way to take away the longing for a cigarette, would it be easier to quit?" They will agree, and that is when you should invite them to take the lesson. Be sure to tell them it is completely free. 

This method of invitation should be used by the friendshipper/coach, the smoker asking a friend, as well as the missionaries. It is simple and should be practiced in a role play in advance.  

.... Contact ...

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